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The holy month of Ramadan is considered the holiest and most sacred month of the Islamic Hijri (lunar) calendar. Muslims firmly believe that it was during this exalted month that the archangel Gabriel descended from the heavens and revealed the Message to the Prophet Muhammad.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are required to elevate their level of spiritual and physical submission to God by way of fasting; that is to say, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and also husband-wife intimacy from the breaking of dawn until the setting of the sun.

As we prepare to welcome the holiest of months, here are the dates, calendar and guide to spending Ramadan 2021 in France.

Ramadan dates and calendar 2021

The arrival of Ramadan has always been associated with a certain amount of mystique and contemplation. The exact date of the month’s beginning is traditionally determined by religious scholars/authorities under the cover of night as they seek to observe certain sightings related to the appearance and cycle of the moon.

This year, Ramadan is expected to be upon us starting from 12 April and will last until 12 May 2021, followed by the Islamic festivities of Eid al Fitr.

Ramadan in France

Since France is not a Muslim country, the holy festival of Ramadan is best experienced in the areas and locales concentrated with Muslim communities.

The fast begins at dawn, right after the Suhoor meal, and lasts till the end of the day. It is broken with the Iftar meal, which consists of traditional dishes, juices, and desserts. During fasting hours, people avoid drinking, smoking, eating,  and engaging in sexual activities.

The Grande Mosquée de Paris © WikiCommons

The mosques in France hold the Tarawih congregational prayers during Ramadan. Sermons and recitations of the Holy Quran, as well as social activities, are arranged so that Muslims and people from other backgrounds can learn and interact more about Islam.

People often visit the famous Grande Mosquée de Paris, the Strasbourg Mosque, Grande Mosquée de Lyon or the mosque of Omar Ibn Al Khattab to offer their prayers.

Rules and Decorum

As the population of France is not Muslim-majority, there are no special laws regarding the holy month of Ramadan.

However, as a sign of respect to the Islamic beliefs and culture, it is better not to eat, drink, or dress inappropriately in public places in Muslim-dominated locales.